The Simon Communities in Ireland have said that it is deeply disturbing that the numbers of people in emergency accommodation is continuing to increase to a record 8,492 according to figures released for October 2017 by the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government.
· 1,463 families are living in emergency accommodation, an increase of 24% since October 2016 when the figure was 1,178 families.
· 3,194 children are trapped in emergency accommodation, an increase of 29% when compared with October 2016 when the figure was 2,470 children.
· 3,286 adults without dependants in their care are trapped in emergency accommodation - an increase of almost 18% since October 2016 when the figure was 2,794.
Niamh Randall, Spokesperson for the Simon Communities said that we must not become immune to the continuing worsening of the housing and homelessness crisis.
“As people move out of emergency accommodation, more people come in to take their place. This has to be traced back to the failure of the private sector to provide for housing needs, in the absence of sufficient social and affordable housing. Prevention is critical; we need to keep people in the homes they have to stem the tide of men, women and children into homelessness. Many people in emergency accommodation are coming from the private rental sector where they have lost their home because they cannot afford to pay rent. Responses to the crisis have centred on an emergency led response with limited focus on people’s wider and ongoing support needs. It is a flawed strategy that does not fully address homelessness and can lead to institutionalisation and dependency in the long run.”
“In the absence of sufficient supply of social housing, the private rented sector alone is not capable of delivering the housing needed to respond to the homeless crisis given the sheer scale People renting their homes must have the security of tenure and know that their rents align with real market rates. There are solutions: full rent certainty, linking rents to the Consumer Price Index; providing people with greater security of tenure; closing all loopholes in relation to evictions; and increasing, monitoring and adjusting Rent Supplement/HAP payments regularly. These must keep pace with market rents or they risk becoming ineffective, as they are now in many cases. Any measures put in place must impact all tenancies and limit rent increases within all tenancies. We must also look at measures to deliver social and affordable homes such as empty homes and rapid build housing. Around 183,000 homes lie empty in Ireland. Within this, there is more than enough to house people living in emergency accommodation. The potential to deliver much needed housing supply quickly is significant and it is deeply disappointing to us that the Empty Homes Strategy has not seen the light of day”
The Simon Communities deliver supports and services to over 8,300 people and families throughout Ireland who experience or are at risk of homelessness every year.
For media queries and interview requests
Tel: 01 671 1606/ 085 806 5141
About Simon Communities
The Simon Communities in Ireland are a network of eight regionally based independent Simon Communities based in Cork, Dublin, Dundalk, Galway, the Midlands, the Mid West, the North West and the South East that share common values and ethos in tackling all forms of homelessness throughout Ireland, supported by a National Office. The Simon Communities have been providing services in Ireland for over 40 years. The Simon Communities deliver support and service to over 8,300 people and families throughout Ireland who experience – or are at risk of – homelessness every year. Whatever the issue, for as long as we are needed, Simon’s door is always open. For more information please log on to www.simon.ie
Services range from
· Housing provision, tenancy sustainment & settlement services, housing advice & information services helping people to make the move out of homelessness & working with households at risk;
· Specialist health & treatment services addressing some of the issues which may have contributed to homeless occurring or may be a consequence;
· Emergency accommodation & support providing people with a place of welcome, warmth & safety;
· Soup runs & rough sleeper teams who are often the first point of contact for people sleeping rough.